11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If there's a common theme among Harmon Hills' extensive and varied challenges, it's an emphasis on precision placement. Be it a safe spot within a wooded fairway, a must-hit zone to set up your next shot, or a door step that allows easy (often in air quotes) passage through a gut-clenching window, where your disc lands will never have more impact on your round than at Harmon. The difference between success and failure is often a matter of a few feet, yet the landing zones here remain very fair: they are well-conceived and make excellent use of the terrain's abundant riches. These landing zones come in many forms, entering out of or into the woods, before or across harrowing elevation changes, along fairways or as part of challenging greens. Woodedness is well varied across Harmon's 27 holes, which helps counter the constraints of the emphasis on precision, even though there's still a bit of feeling hemmed in: precision is highly emphasized over distance, and the course is largely unforgiving. The intensive focus on placement lends the golf a wonderfully high level of strategic thinking. Forethought is a must; Harmon's mental game is to be relished.
Hole length is another characteristic mined for variation at Harmon. With an average distance of 421', the course certainly tends towards technical par 4s (16 of the 27 holes are par 4, and there is one additional par 5), but in practice this distance is sensitively implemented with an eye towards changing the pace up. The shorter par 3s provide well-timed relief from the longer par 4s, and there's a qualitative difference between the birdieable par 4s and the longer, more threatening ones. A few longer and challenging par 3s round out what is the virtual spectrum of hole lengths and pars.
The terrain lends some spectacular views and unique conundrums. Unexpected valleys force wary shots on holes such as 12 and 25, trees thwart your approach on 13, 14, and numerous others, and the ever-shifting elevation twists your shots into previously unconceived lines from start to finish. If a course with good shot variety uses every disc in your bag, Harmon's kaleidoscopic assault on your game requires you to add some new ones in.
The course was excellently groomed during my early June visit. Navigation is intuitive on the well-signed front 18, and only minorly less so on the final 9. The three loops of 9 allow you to recharge your batteries with gracious frequency.
My favorite back-to-back holes were 12 and 13: finding a landing zone to safely pass into the valley on 12 is a heckuva fun challenge, and once in you're forced to either play wide to the right and navigate around the numerous small trees or play left ualong a rough-strewn slope; 13 provides a lovely contrast with a super tight midrange shot fading left downhill into an unseen valley, wherein you have to scratch and claw back uphill in approach of the basket. The variety of terrain and challenges found in these two holes is Harmon at its best.
Cons: Harmon's emphasis on precision landing zones and tight windows is a bit undermined by its numerous blind shots. There are a lot of these, and they do add a bit of luck to how the course plays. You can't always set up your next shot as much as the abundant obstacles seem to suggest you should, owing to the fact that many landing zones and next stages are unseen. In the aforementioned 13 for example, hitting the already tight lane to the landing zone isn't enough to ensure a safe approach. With such precision required and so many unique lines, it'd be nice to see where you were throwing to more often.
Despite the immense variety of tree cover between holes, I think Harmon would be helped by even one or two more open holes. Even in instances where there's a lot of space to maneuver, tight windows or precarious elevation really reign in your shot. In general I vastly prefer technicality of the sort Harmon offers, but with such significantly varied tree cover it seems a shame to not have one or two opportunities to let your disc fly with impunity. 10 might have scratched this itch if not for the inadequate tee pad.
Speaking of which: some of the tees are short enough to or bordered by drop offs that will impact your run up. It's not the norm, but it does happen, and it's noticeable in instances where precision at longer distances is required.
The back 9 is less easy to navigate than the front 18 owing to a lack of signage. It wasn't terrible, but we found ourselves scouting ahead a lot just to find where we were headed.
This back 9 is an immensely unique and immensely difficult set of holes: it is the first stretch of 9 I've ever played whose collective challenge began to undermine my ability to appreciate it. It's a very unforgiving stretch of especially tight lines and abundant obstacles that offers little room calibrate risk versus reward: the holes are largely one lane, see it and attempt it type shots. In retrospect this 9 has some of the most memorable holes of the course, with a manipulation of the inherent elevation that surpasses that already expert and dramatic usage on the front 18, but the challenge factor is seriously through the roof. It wouldn't be a bad idea to play these as your second 9, after you've warmed up on the first 9 but have yet to be ground up by 18 already-tough holes.
Other Thoughts: Harmon is a heck of a course on some bountiful disc golf land that begs to be visited. The challenge factor is real here, so be advised.
Harmon struck me as the spiritual sibling to West Virginia's Woodshed and Whippin' Post courses, which are also private, sit on similar terrain, and offer unique, outsized challenges. If you've played and loved one of these, consider this a mandate to play the other.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
great terrian and private course
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: PRIVATE course located on terrific scenic land. Being private, no other park activities get in your way such as joggers, playgrounds, picnics or dog walkers. Very secluded and simply peaceful.
This TN landscape included rolling hills, woods, sink holes, rocks, open fields and tons of elevation all around. I can't think of one flat hole.The variety of shots required; downhill, uphill, open, tight, right or left.
The unusually high number of par 4's throughout the course, I love throwing a driver twice on a hole.
(or were they hard par 3's for this grand master aged player?)
Hi-lites for me:
#1 - might be the best hole on the course.
#3 - great par 4 that's partially open, then downhill and wooded and ends up slightly uphill.
#4 - elevated tee shot.
#6 - great downhill right to left tee shot down towards a valley which leads to an uphill drive to get to the basket.
#9 - another great par 4 looping back to the start.
#10 - bombs away tee shot, it looked intimidating to someone who rarely throws 300' but I got my par 4 with a well placed 3rd shot.
#12 - tough par 4 that I didn't play well but once saw the line where you should play, it's great.
#14 - loved this right to left hyzer hole, simply beautiful!
#15 - tunnel tee shot over lower terrain which leads to uphill wooded location.
#16 - token birdie shot.
#18 - another great par 4 hole leading back to the start.
Cons: No map or scorecard was available during a weekday when I played between 11a-3p.
Short cement pads.
No water came into play.
A few next tee signs would help first timers.
#17 basket was hard for me to find over the ridge and much longer than I thought.
#9 and #10 seemed to share part of their fairways.
The third nine located across the street 19-27 were unmarked...no tee signs with the distance or numbers on the baskets. One hole 25(?) was insanely difficult left to right with huge elevations thru the woods and included larger sink holes than the other ones. I probably wouldn't play this nine again with the top notch other 18 across the street.
Other Thoughts: The back nine was mowed better than the front but
since it's private, I can't imagine the work ever being done. Please use the donation box!
I played this course solo while losing my map after 6 holes. It's a great challenge and deserves it's many accolades.However, I can't give it a 5 star rating with the cons I listed. Hope I don't bring down it's overall rating with a 4.5. I did add Harmon as one of my favorites.
I'm rated below 900 and shot a decent 34 on the front, a bad 37 on the back and worn out tired as hell 43 on the last nine.
This course is not easy and can wear you out, I took a 30 min break after each nine.
Being in a rather remote location, my Verizon cell service was sporadic.
Bring food, water and bug spray with you, there is no commerce nearby even back at the highway exit.
I look forward to returning someday and meeting the locals who maintain this special course.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Best Course for hundreds of miles!
13 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Being in the DGCR top 10, I had high hopes for this course when I made my first stop to play. It didn't let me down entirely, however it had a few minor stumbling blocks I'll explain later. Overall though, easily the best course anywhere close to East Tenn/WNC.
First off, this course is long and demanding. If you're playing the full 27 for the first time, or even repeat, you'll need close to 3 hours to finish. I appreciated the challenge but a newbie could be demoralized by it.
The front nine had more of the memorable shots on the course, including hole 1 which was one of my favorites. I didn't have to walk the front nine twice to see the shots, which was nice being the first time I played the course. There was an even mixture of right/left shots on the front 9 with plenty of elevation change to boot. Most shots are formed with both the tee and the basket in wooded alcoves and the fairway being open. I thought that front nine was the easiest of the 3 9-holers, but it wasn't a pushover. You'll need precise drives to make it out into the open where your disc will hopefully fly for days.
The second 9 holes felt a little more open from the start at hole 10. I liked this 9-hole run a little less than the first, mostly because some of the holes felt contrived. Hole 11 simply felt like a connector hole to get to hole 12, which was a sweet shot! 11 did break up the pace of long drives leading to more long drives, however, so that was nice. Many people seem to like hole 17, I however did not. It was difficult for sure, but I didn't feel like you had a legitimate first shot to get you to the fairway. It felt too closed off from the tee, requiring too much luck that doesn't become a course of this caliber. No matter though, hole 18 makes up for it once you reach the fairway and see the beauty of the basket resting just past the tree on the hill.
The final 9 holes were certainly the hardest on the course. Every single shot was tight and wooded, some were also very long with elevation. Unlike the front 18, you won't be able to open up back here, and you'll likely need to walk many holes before throwing as they are blind shots in the woods. If you lose a disc at Harmon Hills, it will likely be back here. The final hole left a bad taste in my mouth for some reason but I'm sure others really enjoy it. My favorite part of the final 9 was hole 25 (If I remember correctly) which was an up and down rocky dogleg right that felt like it was out of Lord of the Rings. I know this kind of rocky atmosphere is also present at Morristown Kiwanas and Warriors Path nearby.
There were also plenty of benches to rest while playing this long course, which is an obvious plus.
Cons: The tee pads are a little short, especially for some of those shots that require you to turn it up a notch on the front 18. I understand the budgetary concerns of putting in a course like this on private land though.
There isn't any water in play...This is probably the main reason I can't award this course anything higher than a 4.5. I can't honestly say a course has everything it needs to be perfect without the fear of losing a disc to a splash zone.
The tee signs were minimal, but again, I understand this is a privately maintained course so funding extremely nice amenities isn't easy.
There was a few times where navigation became a slight issue, but that was mainly on the final 9 holes, which still seemed kinda roughed in at the time I went. I'm sure signs will be added in the near future to help with this.
A minor comment about the cleanliness of the place. I know when I played it was sort of in a transitional period between owners, however there was a fair amount of trash and general upkeep that needed to be taken care of. The day I played the fairways were not as manicured as I've heard mention that they typically are. Knowing that this was during the ownership transition I tried not to let it effect my rating.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth stopping to play if you're driving on 81 and even making a special trip to play. Keep in mind that the course is in the middle of nowhere. I didn't have any cell service and navigating back out of the place wasn't easy without it. Coming prepared with written directions wouldn't be a bad idea.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Private and Pleasing....
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very large private course in a nice rural area in Eastern Tn.
The course has easy access off of I-81. You can be there in less than 10 minutes.
The course itself is setup as 3 nines with all the finishing holes ending near the house and parking area.
There is a great variety of terrain on the course.
The tee boxes are small, but they are grooved and they have very good grip.
The baskets are Mach 3's and all were in great shape.
I like to play hyzers, so I really notice the turn holes. There seemed to be a very good mix of holes that fit both types of shots.
The teeth of this course is the changes in elevation. I know that the course says that it is moderately hilly, but I consider it very hilly. Just to clarify, I do consider this as a pro.
There are stumps and chairs/benches available on most of the holes.
The upkeep of the course was top notch. I didn't see any trash on the course at all. The grass was also mowed and the underbrush wasn't too bad at all.
There are tee signs with the distance and a simple diagram of the hole. It was our first time playing the course and we did need to walk some of the holes to get a full layout of the hole.
I played in a group of 4 and I think that I saw just about every shot played during our round. (Hyzer, Anny, Rollers, Thumber/Tomahawks and skips)
There was a good mix of tight into open shots and open into tight area holes.
The people running the course were SUPER NICE. They were very helpful telling us about the layout and also getting some lunch between rounds.
There are alot of par 4's with great variety. One is a horseshoe shaped that plays around 330 ft while there are 3 other par 4's that play over 580 ft on the 1st 18 holes.
Nagivation on the course is done naturally. You will not find next tee signs or arrow, but there are EASY to find paths to the next tee. It was our first trip here and we didn't have any trouble with navigation.
Cons: Some tee pads were a little short.
Other Thoughts: This place is a fantastic private course. If you like grassroots disc golf this place is a MUST play. I don't get to this area often, but when we do Harmon Hills will be on the agenda.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Impeccable Private Course
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Massive private course in secluded location. Full 18 hole course on one side of road with a completely different 9 hole experience on the other side. Lots of disc golf in a great setting.
18 hole course has well done concrete tees on every hole. They are a little small, but I had no problems. If you have a big run up it could be an issue. Signs are basic but informative. Layout and distances are there as well as a simple depiction of layout. Navigation was never an issue.
Course was exquisitely maintained both times I've played it. We're talking about Maple Hill private course level, or pristine public park level. Which given the scale and grass that needs cutting here, it is an amazing feat. Fairways are great, and rough is minimal. Playing here is a pleasure. There is some foot tall grass around the property, but shots need to really go astray to reach it. Kudos to the souls that keep this course in shape.
Front 18 hole course plays threw rolling hills, meadows and some nice woods. There are a few small creeks and some sink holes to keep things interesting. Baskets are typically in sparse woods, but nothing is too tricky to handle. Hole length variety is good. Holes range from about 598' to under 200'. Most holes require a decent shot off the tee with a driver as well as a decent approach. This is not a short technical course.
BUT, there a re a few pretty tight technical holes that will keep the big arms honest. IMO the shorter wooded holes have a few spots of random, plinko tree feel to them, and add a touch of luck this course doesn't need, but they are not so tight as to be offensive. They just aren't as good as some other courses technical holes, or as good as some of this course's lengthier holes.
Most of the longer holes require 2 well placed shots to get you where you need to be. Only on a couple holes can you simply air it out with no thought or control. There are also several nice, winding fairways that require multiple well placed shots. The gradual elevation that is present is used up and down top add a varied feel to the fairways.
Visually this is a beautiful course. It is secluded TN hill country and you won't see or hear any distractions.
The wooded 9 holes across the street are 100% tight woods beat down. Not much variety there, but simply well done, technical golf. There is some nice elevation and some very cool rock formations that add to the challenge. After 18 holes across the road these 9 will simply beat you down. Stay on the fairway as the rough is thick and punishing. It's a nice course, and could stand on its own if it had to. There is a a nice mix of shots and enough length to challenge most arms.
Cons: Pads are a little small.
Signs and navigation on the wooded 18 are a little lacking. Lots of blind shots that could use some guidance from the tee. Walking the fairway on some holes is necessary to figure out where you're going.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course. In any setting the holes here would make a nice round. In a private, rural setting all the better. I'm sure I'll be abused for not giving in to the recent rash of 5's for this course, but I simply don't recall a truly special hole. I've played it twice, and not once did I stand on a pad and say wow. There's lots of good holes here, and really nothing bad. But in my humble opinion it lacks a special feature or feel of the other great courses I've played. There is no extreme elevation, water carries or long range views. There is a couple sink holes, but I doubt most would give a course a 5 for a hole in the ground. But either way, this is a great course that is maintained as well as any, so it is worthy of a special road trip if you ever have the chance.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: This course has everything. Open holes, wooded holes, wooded then open then wooded again holes, great elevation change, and I could go on and on. This course is challenging and super fun to play. It is very well kept up and manicured. You cant ask for much more in a disc golf course really. The people who work on the course and who own the property are top notch people. Great down home Tennesseans with southern hospitality. If you live close to this course or for some reason are driving somewhere close to it, you have to stop and play this emaculate course. Disc golf at its finest!
Cons: I really dont have any to tell you the truth.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
One of the Best Courses Anywhere
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills is amazing setting for disc golf on private hilly east TN farmland. The owners are extremely nice and don't mind having people come play, in fact they seemed to enjoy having people play it. It seems you could play most anytime, but I would always call first just to be sure. There was plenty of room for several cars to park near tee #1 or near tee #10 which on just on either side of the house.
Tees- I was really impressed with the sufficiently sized concrete tees with traction grooves- a rarity for private courses.
Baskets- The original 18 has Mach baskets with flags, and the newer 9 across the road has Discatchers. Several holes on the first 18 also had a shorter basket, optional to play to and they make a good fairway marker of where you want to aim for on your drive.
Signs- 18 basic but effective tee signs posted on trees (new 9 does not have them yet).
Extras- Navigation is a breeze for first timers (with two minor exceptions- see other~). Each 9 begins and ends at the house/parking area. There were benches on almost every hole (I think the first 18 all had benches).
*This is a PRIVATE course that had the features you would expect on a great public course- it exceeded my expectations immensely.
All that stuff above is great, but the course is even better. There is a lot of variety- holes of all lengths, and mostly longer than your typical course (legit par 4's or at least several holes will 4 is a good score.) The hills are up, down, and sideways and some holes are flat; fairways go left right, straight; and many holes are often a mixture and combination of several of those things. I like the even variety of some open, and lots of wooded holes of varying densities, some holes involve both a section of open and wooded. The rocky terrain in several spots adds a nice visual element as well as something else to avoid hitting with your disc. Lots of sink holes, depressions, ravines- nothing dangerous and you can still get your disc, just something that forces a better shot. There is absolutely no repetition- a spectacular and well-though out design.
Most holes don't play like your standard par 3. Not just by length, but by requiring careful placement of one shot in order to set up your next shot. Sometimes a shorter shot is the better play to get a better angle or to avoid one of the deep valleys. Not many courses out there have this style of play (Idlewild, Leviathan come to mind). Each hole at Harmon is challenging, but not impossible or frustrating. Holes are playable by most anyone with a little experience and the proper mind set that 4 (or 5) is not a bad score. There were very few places to lose discs, the size of fairways and landing areas are totally reasonable, just keep an eye on errant shots carefully.
The dog was so cool and friendly, he played the entire first 18 with us, and most of the time he would be waiting on the next tee for us (helping in navigation!) He never barked and never got in the way.
Clubhouse/lounge was pretty nice with a grill, tables, ping pong, foos ball, couches, tv, fireplace- Probably not something you would use in a casual round, but I am sure this makes tournaments that much better.
Cons: A few small things: No major signature holes in my mind that stand out above the rest as being totally unique and memorable- a result of all holes were equally good and challenging, and no hole was a filler.
The first 18 is absolutely terrific. The newer additional 9 has a different feel to it (like a technical woods course on steroids). These 9 are all similar in style and a little repetitive, plus they are newer and have not had time to break in yet, so not quite up to the level of the first 18. If you only have time for 18 or are just too tired, you could skip these 9 and not miss too much.
No water (just not here, kind of like Flip City). Unless you count the small above ground swimming pool behind #18's basket! This also made this basket seem out of place from the others as it was basically in the family's back yard.
Other Thoughts: This a very solid course, that will challenge anybody, but is still fun, and could be played and enjoyed over and over again. An amazing private course that is definitely worth coming out to play. For me it lies somewhere between a 4.5 and 5.0. Does not yet quite have the mystique and aura of my 5.0's like Flip, Flyboy, Idlewild, IDGC Jackson, but it is very close to it (more like Holler in the Hills and Bud Hill and IDGC Ed).
I did not see a pay box, but we just handed some money to the misses. (Highly recommended to donate a little because it is obvious how much work they put into this course.)
~Navigational issues- We played to #5's basket from #4 tee by accident- #4 is straight ahead up the hill. On the new nine, after hole #7 follow the small rocky ledge for a few feet to the right to get to the path for #8 tee.
FYI- #1 tee to the left of the house, #10 to the right by the wooden shed, #19 across the road behind the rubber tire practice basket.
We caught the course in pristine conditions as they had a big tourney coming in a couple of days. I wondered if they were able keep up the fight with nature in the summertime- that would be a big job, (but it appears from the many positive reviews since I played that the course is consistently in great shape.)
I totally agree with swatso's and DSCJNKY's assessments. Please read those well-written reviews for more good info. And then make plans to come play possibly the best course in TN and one of the best anywhere.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Wonderful Terrain + Great Design = Fantastic Course
Nitpicks - couple missing signs, tees could be longer, basket-18 near children's play areas
The many gently-rolling hills and valleys, open space defined by lines of trees and scattered sections of woods combine to create a terrain seemingly custom-made for a great disc golf course.
There is so much variety on this course:
* Length: from 177' to 606', you'll have both grip-n-rip and touch-shot opportunities from the tee. ~2/3rds of the holes are over 350'
* Elevation: pretty much every combination you can think of - flat, up, down, across, up-n-over, undulating, very evenly distributed
* Tightness - degree: from quite to wide-open, more fair/open than tight
* Tightness - location: entire length, early,late, midpoint, combinations, typically only for a small portion of the length of the hole.
* Turns - none, left, rights, S - very even blend. #13 is a left-turning J-shape/fishhook!
* Management - about 1/3rd of the holes require a very-accurately placed first shot to provide a reasonable approach for the second shot - too short/long/left/right on these holes, and you'll be scrambling for a bogey.
Two nine-hole clockwise-loops starting/ending near house - tee-1/basket-9 to left of house, tee-10/basket-18 to right of house. The course, even without a map, was easy to navigate, and the family dog joined, and sometimes led, us on our round.
The front nine has a second set of shorter-located, non-uniform baskets. These can sometimes be useful when playing to the standard baskets, as on both #3&4, throwing towards the short basket, then turing 30-degrees to the left upon reaching it, is probably the best line to take
Favourite hole: - many to choose from
* Number-1 requires a sweeping, down-slope right-turner through a midpoint treeline-gap to reach basket-1, framed by impressive large stones
* Number-3 requires a straight throw to exit some woods, cross open space, needing to then fade left into another portion of woods, basket tucked behind a small, tree-populated rise.
* Number-12 exits straight out of woods from an elevated position, across open space, then a sharp right after entering the next section of woods.
* Number-17 requires a long, straight, throw through a smattering of trees on slightly downwardly-sloping land. From there, need to quickly get up-n-over a tree-filled rise then fade a bit left to find the basket to the right of a large tree
This course is a joy to play, and is well worth making the effort to visit - give Jerry a call if you're going to be anywhere near the area.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
great private course
Pros: great mix of holes, right out of the gate hole 1 is great and challenging. course is tough and demands accuracy. great distance to the course and the owner is very nice. has a ball golf feel to a few of the holes, which i always love.
Cons: tee pads aren't the best, but are good for a private course
Other Thoughts: great all around course
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: one of the premier courses in upper east tn. pdga par 66. placement golf. accuracy a must. i love the par 4s and 5s. mostly open, plenty in the woods as well. great hospitality. plans of adding 9 more shorter holes for a full 27.
Cons: a couple of holes still lack teepads.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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